The Irish Loop Chamber of Commerce marked another busy year during its annual general meeting and election of officers, held at the Sapphire Lounge in Bay Bulls last week.
Some 28 people attended the event, which is higher than past years.
“I've heard it said that people tend to overestimate what they can do in a day, but underestimate what they can do in a year. I think we're proof of that this year,” said outgoing president Dr. Jeff Marshall, who highlighted some of the chamber’s achievements in 2014-2015.
“We totally rebranded the Chamber with a new logo and identification,” said Marshall. “We revamped the Chamber Membership Kit, launched a membership drive, attended numerous events and announcements, attended the symposiums and provided input to The Harris Centre Report on the Irish Loop, contributed to the Laurentic Conference committee with the Cities of Donegal and Derry, Ireland, developed a new Chamber website and social media program, and imagined and produced LoopEx'14, the first ever Business-to-Business Trade Show on the Irish Loop and the first at Southern Shore Arena.”
Though it was in its infancy, Marshall said the LoopEx was a huge success.
“After speaking with those who had booths, we learned that people made great sales contacts and most will be back this year,” he added. “Not only does LoopEx showcase business to the local community, it also raised the profile of business in the loop to those outside our region.”
This year’s LoopEx is slated for June 20 at the Arena in Mobile. Marshall said the event is being held a little later than the one last year so that it doesn’t have to compete for attention with similar shows scheduled in the St. John’s area around the same time. “We’re pretty excited about it,” Marshall said. “I think that’s going to be even bigger this year and continue to grow.”
The chamber also created and staged the Seagull Awards, the first ever business and bocial achievement awards program on the Irish Loop, Marshall noted, and held another successful Fall Fair.
Marshall said the chamber also put an emphasis on developing contacts and sharing resources with other like-minded organizations in the region such as the Southern Avalon Development Association (SADA), based in Trepassey, and the East Coast Trail Association (ECTA). SADA has been contracted to provide some of the Chamber’s bookkeeping and administrative services.
“The chamber has got a pretty broad reach and I want to make sure we’re pooling our talents when we can,” Marshall said.
ECTA actually has a representative on the Chamber’s board of directors this year as a result of the election of officers. Mona Rossiter of Calvert will represent ECTA on the chamber’s board and the chamber on ECTA’s board. Other directors on the Chamber’s board for the coming year include Mike Rose of Rose Synergies based in Witless Bay, Carol Ann Devereaux of the Trepassey Motel in Trepassey, Linda Cook and Denise Leonard of In ‘da Loop Restaurant & Lounge in Fermeuse, and Marshall, who operates Back Home Chiropractic in the Goulds. The group will meet soon to establish the executive positions including president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary.
One exciting new development on the horizon, Marshall said, is the development of a Loop App for mobile phones. It will replace the Chamber’s traditional printed business directory. “This is going to the first in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Marshall. “Based on your location it will tell you what’s closest to you, you’ll be able to search any kind of service, it will tell you what services are coming up as you’re moving along the Southern Shore highway. It’s pretty exciting technology really.”